Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Hearts are more open, and days are more bright. The fragrance of hope pours boundlessly into the streets. The cherry that sits on top is the gifts we'll give and the ones we'll receive.
Wrapped with shimmering gold, beets of red, and forever green are the presents adding flavor and flair to each of our lives. This exchange of indirect love is an added spark to the traditions of the season. You can't wait to see the look on the faces of those who unwrap your token of affection for them, and, in turn, you are just as excited to see what they have for you. The surprises are far from few, promising to end with nothing short of a delight.
However, there are times when we may encounter a present or two that ends up in a regifting pile. We have no clue how what we found on the inside of the packaging will assist, enhance, or even slightly bring joy to our world. Instead, we conclude that our gift-giver doesn't know us at all. Disappointment sets in, marking our relationship until the next time they get it right.
This same dynamic comes to play when we, as business leaders, unwrap the treasures and trinkets provided by marketing. What this function of the organization gives us in return may feel underwhelming and leave us, dare we say, feeling dissatisfied. It's like marketing knows nothing about our business and therefore shows up empty-handed or with a bag filled with broken toys. We end up expecting less from marketing or nothing at all. We don't give to it, and it doesn't give to us.
Can we play a little devil's advocate and defend marketing for a bit? Now, yes, we may be slightly biased in our positioning, but that does not make what we say next any less true. Disappointment occurs when expectations aren't met. A bar is set, and something or someone falls short of reaching or exceeding that bar. This results in feeling let down. Could it be what you expect to unwrap when gifted by marketing is a false expectation of its job?
Marketing is the strategy and tactics a brand (corporate or individual) uses to create awareness, engage and attract an audience, and communicate about its products and/or services. Marketing is a process that allows brands to gain and maintain audience relationships, obtain and nurture audience interest, and create a fanbase by sharing the benefits, the price, and unique features of what the brand is offering.
The marketing function leads to sales, but it is not sales in itself. The two are separate yet equal. Both are just as important as the other, but their outcome—what they gift businesses are very different. Marketing studies the organization's market and its target audience to better understand how they align, intersect, and relate to another. The learnings and discoveries inform a strategy that evolves into activities and tactics used to help encourage and drive sales.
If your marketing jumps right into the activities and tactics without the learnings and discoveries, when it comes time to open up the present that marketing hands you, guaranteed, you will hate what you receive. Quick reminder and repeat of what was already said: Marketing is a process. It's a process that includes selling but does not begin at selling. Sales is a byproduct and not the ultimate goal. Sales is the end all be all of selling, not marketing.
Ok, so that horse has been beaten to death.
The point is, don't give up on the gifts of joy that marketing offers.
Reset your expectation about what you should unwrap when marketing hands you a gift, and you will experience the Yuletide spirit that this season brings!
Hang out with THuS this month to hear from other marketing professionals and business leaders who share the experience of receiving top-notch gifts of joy from their beloved marketing!